A pheochromocytoma prognosis is a medical opinion concerning the likely outcome in an individual case of the cancer. A doctor considering a person's prognosis will consider several factors, including the stage of the cancer, where the tumor is located, and the patient's age and general health. It is important to keep in mind, however, that a pheochromocytoma prognosis is only a prediction -- even the doctor cannot say for certain what the outcome will be for a particular patient.
People with a pheochromocytoma are naturally concerned about what the future holds. Understanding what to expect can help patients:
- Plan pheochromocytoma treatment
- Think about lifestyle changes
- Make decisions about quality of life and finances.
Many people with a pheochromocytoma want to know their prognosis. They may ask their doctor or search for pheochromocytoma statistics on their own.
A prognosis gives an idea as to the likely course and outcome of a disease -- that is, the chance that a patient will recover or have a recurrence (return of the cancer). Many factors affect a person's prognosis.
Some of the most important factors affecting a prognosis for cancer in general are:
- The type and location of the cancer
- The stage of the disease (the extent to which the cancer has metastasized, or spread)
- Its grade (how abnormal the cancer cells look and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread).
Other factors that may also affect the cancer prognosis include the person's age, general health, and response to treatment.
When doctors consider a person's prognosis, they carefully weigh all factors that could affect that person's disease and treatment, and then try to predict what might happen. The doctor bases the prognosis on information researchers have collected over many years about hundreds, or even thousands, of people with cancer. When possible, the doctor uses statistics based on groups of people whose situations are most similar to that of the individual patient.
The doctor may speak of a favorable pheochromocytoma prognosis if the cancer is likely to respond well to treatment. The pheochromocytoma prognosis may be unfavorable if the cancer is likely to be difficult to control. It is important to keep in mind, however, that a prognosis is only a prediction. The doctor cannot be absolutely certain about the outcome for a particular patient.